By Jonny Long
Sam Bennett says wrong decisions cost him a first Tour de France stage win and yellow jersey on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.
The Irishman looked well-positioned to contest the sprint for the line, but couldn't match the raw power of the Alexander Kristoff who powered to the stage win after a treacherous opening day.
"[It was a] dangerous day with the roads being so slippy," Bennett said after the finish. "I tried my best, tried to stay safe but made a wrong decision in the final when Mørkøv went.
"I saw Stuyven and let him in, hoping he’d go early, but he waited too long to get a run at Michael [Mørkøv] and I should have really fought for my team-mate's wheel and gone from there. I dropped the speed too much and had to try and accelerate again but it was too late."
Miscues are to be expected after a year without as much racing as usual, and the rain on stage one also caused numerous crashes to add to the stress of riding the Tour.
"To be honest I was okay," Bennett said of his day overall. "There was a crash, I broke a wheel, and then got a puncture on the climb...actually I was pretty good on the climb, the only problem is we then went easy to neutralise the descent and then more competitors came back. So I’d fought really hard to stay in the front, I could have taken it so much easier and then sprinted with fresher legs in the final.
"It was the right decision to keep everything safe but when you put the effort in you want the race to continue."
While Bennett would have only spent a day in yellow with stage two tackling a couple of category one climbs, a handful more flat days will offer the Irishman the opportunity to take his maiden Tour stage win.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
Ben Swift successfully defends British National Road Race title
The Ineos rider outlasted Fred Wright on the Michaelgate climb to the finish line
By Jonny Long •
Pfeiffer Georgi wins British National Road Championships
The DSM rider attacked up the Michaelgate climb to seal the victory
By Jonny Long •